A Lesson From the Bear

How does Mama Bear know what to do?

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I have recently been greatly blessed to have a vacation in Alaska. While there, I experienced several of the wonders of God’s creation. This time, I would like to talk about the bear. The guides on several of our excursions talked about bears, their habits and their life cycle. Being from Maine, I already knew a bit about bear. We have a few black bear around. However, I learned some details on this trip that I didn’t know before. Perhaps some of them are unique to the Alaskan Black Bear.

I generally knew that the bear fatten up to prepare for the winter’s hibernation, but I didn’t know about another step they take to prepare. They eat gravel to stop up their bowel. I also knew that the mother gives birth and nurses her young in the den, before coming out in the spring. At this time, she is semi-dozing, not fully asleep. Here’s another fact I didn’t know: After they come out of the den in the Spring, the Alaskan bears eat skunk cabbage root as a laxative to get rid of that gravel plug.

A bit of research has revealed that the western skunk cabbage is a somewhat different plant than the eastern skunk cabbage. I don’t know whether the eastern bears do the same thing.

I ask myself the question: How does the bear know to do that?

  • One answer might be that they learn it from their mother. She does teach her young a lot about how to be a bear, but does she teach them to eat gravel before hibernation and skunk cabbage root afterward?
  • Another answer might be that the bear are somehow genetically “programmed” to do this. Instinct, in other words. That answer is OK to a point, but it leaves one wondering how did their instinct get programmed in the first place?
  • A more far-out answer might be that there is some form of communication that the female bear receives from the Creator/Regulator/Shepherd of the Universe that tells her to do these things and when to do them.

The more I learn about God’s magnificent creation, and the intricate details of how it all works, the more strongly I believe the following points:

  1. This didn’t all come about by a series of random events, without any guidance. There absolutely was an intelligent Creator involved.
  2. Whatever means the Creator employed to develop and bring about all the wonders of the natural world, the results reflect the immensity of His intelligence, His power and his Love.
  3. We are truly blessed by the habitat that God has provided for us. We should appreciate it, respect it, and nurture it.

How do YOU think that Mama Bear knows what she knows?